30 Years of Southside Library Boosters
by DR . VANESA M . SCOTT-THOMPSON photos submitted
Dr . Beverley Blake is a retired professor and administrator from Valdosta State University . She began her career as an early childhood educator 28 years ago .
Although she has retired from the university , education is her passion – hence her role as the chairperson of the Southside Library Boosters .
The group was formed 30 years ago , in 1992 , by Dorris Howard , Mildred Hunter and Evelyn Ford . They were women from the community who were educators like Blake . They wanted to ensure that the new library would be fully stocked since there was funding for the facility ’ s construction but limited funding for the books .
Blake is a charter member and the fourth booster club leader , which has about 25-30 members . She has led the group for the past 10 years and is interested in developing the next generation of leaders .
“ I have considered stepping down as president , allowing other members to take a lead role , but I ’ m encouraged by the members to continue as leader . I want the organization to remain active and involved in the community , make a positive impact and keep Southside Library in the spotlight .”
Blake said , “ The purpose of the Southside Library Boosters is to ensure that we plan activities that everyone can participate in . We do a mixture of educational and cultural enrichment activities intended for the south side of Valdosta .
“ I want to ensure that children in the area have access to a family-friendly educational space . I also want them to walk out knowing something they did not know before they came in . I desire them to have new knowledge .”
Blake explained how the skill-building activities support student learning , particularly in early childhood . “ I do make it-take its workshops for the kids in the community from pre-K through fifth grade . This workshop provides an opportunity for parents to make games and learning activities they can work with their children at home – as a refresher prior to the opening of the new school year .”
She remains connected to Valdosta State University through a partnership with the university ’ s college of education . Students can get community service credit if they volunteer for a year at the library . The students volunteer duties include providing reading and tutorial support to the children at the library .
Blake said she is committed to the Valdosta community and its primarily African-American demographic .
24 Valdosta Scene | June 2022